19 Aug 2009

From shopping to summit-seeking – Vietnam has something for everyone

Adventure. Sunshine. Lush rainforest. What more could you want in one perfect package? Forget the history, because Vietnam’s present has earned it the title of one of the most sought-after holiday destinations in Asia – and rightly so, in Ahlan!’s opinion!

Thailand is so last year: Vietnam’s got a lot more to offer, from lush backpacking trails to luxury hotels, which are springing up in the major cities, alongside Western-influenced boutiques and stores.

Head to Nha Trang for pristine sandy white beaches and emerald waters, where aquatic adventures are plenty. Scuba divers come from around the world to explore the Nha Trang Bay, considered to be one of the most beautiful in the world.

Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are the perfect play spots for jetsetters keen on grabbing a bargain. The Dong Xuan Market in capital city Hanoi sells everything you could ever wish for, from seriously cheap silk bags to clothing and jewellery all in the Old Quarter’s three-storey marketplace. Meanwhile, Ho Chi Minh City leaves you spoilt for choice. Head for Khoi Silk on Dong Khoi for particularly good silk clothing, accessories and hand-embroidered goodies.

Nature-lovers will revel in the beauty of Fansipan’s breathtaking mountainous areas, where plenty of trekking trails will appeal to those looking for adventure – trekking up to the summit is a decent two day hike at best, but definitely worth it for the spectacular views!

While you're there...

Explore Ba Be
Ba Be national park, in the middle of one of Vietnam’s tropical rainforests, is a gem that’s greener than an emerald. With over 30 different species of wild animals and 50 types of fish, it’s a glistening example of what makes nature so very special. Explore amongst the trees or venture into the Puong Cave.

Hit China beach

China Beach is one of the most popular stretches of sand in the country. It’s an unspoiled strip that has plenty of history to contemplate as you soak up the sun; this is where the allied troops landed during the Vietnam War.

Red River Adventures
On the banks of the Red River, Hanoi is a must-explore city that combines local culture with French colonial influences and heritage. Pop into the Old Quarter for shopping, then relax by the Hoan Kim Lake next to the 18th century Jade Mountain Temple.